Jen Bielema, Wife of Arkansas Football Coach, Talks Upcoming Game Against Rutgers
Added by Gregg Snyder on September 20, 2013.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday afternoon. It will be the first time an SEC team has traveled to Piscataway. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm at High Point Solutions Stadium and the game will be televised by ESPN. Arkansas has a new coach in Bret Bielema, who came to the Razorbacks after being the head man at Wisconsin. Bielema is building a new team, new offense, and new face for Arkansas football. As part of this transition, Bret’s wife, Jen Bielema, has become some what of a well known face and celebrity for Razorbacks football.
DoubleGSports.com had the chance to ask Jen a few questions leading up to Saturday’s game.
Jen and Bret Bielema (Photo courtesy of Arkansas Athletic Communications)
DoubleGSports: When you saw this year’s Arkansas football schedule with a trip to New Jersey to play Rutgers, were you excited about it, or just took it as another road trip?
Jen Bielema: When I learned Arkansas would play Rutgers this season, I was very excited, plus it has been 15 years since I last visited New Jersey. Rutgers is a great challenge for Arkansas with passionate players and fans as well. I appreciate and respect all non-conference games and the challenges of each opportunity.
DGS: What do you have planned for your time here in Jersey, other than the game of course?
Jen: Rutgers has been selected to be this year’s wives trip. I have a special dinner planned for the wives Friday night. It gives us wives an opportunity to visit a great city and enjoy a quick ladies night followed by the game on Satuday.
DGS: You’ve become a celebrity of sorts for Arkansas football, becoming very involved rather than strictly a supporter. Is that how you envisioned it when your husband got the Razorbacks head coaching job?
(Photo provided by Jen Bielema, used with permission)
Jen: I knew when my husband and I got married in 2012, I was marrying a man that is extremely passionate about his career and all that entails. I respect that, though being married to someone in his profession, especially during the season, there is a lot of quiet time. I figured a good way to embrace this time would be to jump-in and get involved with the community and really appreciate all that goes into the program at Arkansas, not because I should, but because I want to. Bret and I make a phenomenal team, both on the field and off the field. I’m his biggest supporter and his biggest fan. I too am passionate about the game of football and all that goes into it…far beyond just game days.
DGS: What are your intentions as far as your involvement moving forward in the future? Will you try to increase female involvement/understanding of the game?
Jen: Razorback Nation has been extremely welcoming and has respected our transition more than I could have ever imagined. I thank them for giving me the confidence and support to become involved and I look forward to continuing to spread the Razorback love. Football 101 is a neat concept that Bret and I would like to introduce to the Arkansas program next summer. It is a chance for females to get involved and have a behind the scenes look and understanding of the X’s and O’s.
DGS: Prior to a game earlier this season, you posted a picture on Twitter of yourself wearing a hog nose. You also started the “Throwin’ the A” hand gesture. It seems that you try to keep things loose and have fun. Is that just your personality?
Jen: The hog nose…I still have that plastic hog nose and I’m proud to wear it again and again. Confidence is key. I like to have fun, but know when to be serious too. I’d say that hog nose moment was me just having a little fun and excited about football season starting.
Jen “Throwin’ the A” with husband Bret. (Photo provided by Jen Bielema, used with permission)
DGS: Speaking of “Throwin’ the A,” how did that start? Did you come up with the original idea?
Jen: Throw the A, initially, was something I thought might be neat for a quick photo with Bret for our remembrance once Arkansas won their first game. Once we showcased it, it sort of took off from there. Together Bret and I called it “Throw the A” or “Throwin’ the A.” We think it’s a quick way to proudly show love and represent the Arkansas Razorbacks!
DGS: Your game day outfits are well documented and seem to have a theme of Arkansas football. Do you have a specific outfit planned for the game on Saturday? Can you tell us what it is?
Jen: During the season, game day is the most important day of my week and I think it’s important to dress nice and show respect for all the hours and dedication put into the week’s preparation. I hear this weekend is a ‘Blackout’ at High Point Solutions Stadium – I love the fan involvement! I do not have my game day outfit selected yet, but I will definitely be wearing Razorback red.
DGS: Teams have rituals and traditions. Do you and Bret have any rituals or superstitions you go through together on game day?
Jen: I never call Bret on game day, and usually I wait until he texts first too. When he calls, I’m there to answer. I always let him know how proud I am of him and how much I love him. I do travel to the away games and on game day usually do not leave the hotel room until the team leaves for the stadium. I’m typically on the field for pre-game and it’s where I sort of take a deep breath and say a little prayer to keep everyone healthy and positive.
DGS: What’s it like for you on game day, specifically during the game?
Jen: I try to remember to breathe on game days. I’m always very anxious. Usually it’s hard to eat anything all day, even the night games. I may have a nibble occasionally, but my appetite is just not there until the game is over. I stick to water and that’s about it. During the game I am very much in tune with what’s going on and usually don’t miss a play. I’m pretty quiet and in my own bubble but I applaud and cheer loud and proud for great plays and points on the board.
DGS: What do you know about Rutgers football? Are you expecting the Scarlet Knights to challenge the Razorbacks?
Jen: Rutgers is a special football program and has had great success and I do expect Saturday to be a tremendous game and hopefully good weather too.
DGS: Would you like to make a game prediction?
Jen: Of course I am pulling for my Hogs to win the game, but I pray that all players play a healthy game and remember to have fun too.
(Photo courtesy of Arkansas Athletics Communications)
DoubleGSports.com would like to than Jen Bielema for taking some time out to talk with us.
(Alexa Ramos also contributed to this interview)